Combine three legendary blues guitarists (Chicago’s own Buddy Guy, along with Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown and Bobby Parker) with guest artists including Carlos Santana as well as Nile Rogers and Barbara Morrison, and you’ve got nearly four hours of musical dynamite. The Optoma’s excellent 1080i deinterlacing shows its prowess on the many low angle close-ups of guitar strings, with no jaggies evident. The HD8600 also scored very well on the Spears & Munsil 1080i deinterlacing test pattern, which jives with the excellent results achieved with this Blu-ray disc.
With the Reference setting and the D65 color temperature, the 8600 puts forth a very colorful picture that is at the same time vivid but not overly saturated. That’s especially evident in the many shots of the performers and their natty outfits, and flesh tones are very natural.
For all but the largest screens, the lower lamp setting (which provides extended life) and an iris setting at the mid-point provides an optimum combination of brightness along with very good deep blacks, evident here in numerous close-ups of the keyboard’s black keys, as well as the singer’s jet black microphone.
At the back of the stage and away from the prime lighting zones are numerous amp/speaker stacks, and they’re well reproduced with no evidence of black crush. Shots of the drummer from off to his side reveal additional details in the shadows.
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: Car Crazy (Speed)
A close-up under the hood shot of a recent vintage but highly beefed up Shelby Mustang shows the brushed anodized intake manifold and throttle body very clearly defined.
The color analyzer confirms that the Optoma’s colorimetry very closely matches that of the HDTV standard (ITU Rec. 709), which assures that vivid colors will pop, but lesser saturated colors such as skin tones will be realistically presented, as they are here. Various cars shown in NASCAR driver Craig Biffle’s shop feature fantastic paint jobs with lots of vibrancy.
Both the show’s host and shop owner Craig Biffle are sporting black shirts, and Craig’s shirt features tone-on-tone black horizontal striping which is easily discerned.
While the two are chatting away, a black Mustang is situated behind them. Even with its tinted windows, detail’s of the car’s black interior are easily discernable, such as the dashboard top, steering wheel and the front seats.
By offering different lens throw options, Optoma adds to the choices available to custom integrators as well as their customers for special front projection setups. The projector itself, along with the standard throw lens, is definitely a superlative performer (no surprise there). The short throw lens option is just the ticket for those wanting to replace an aging CRT-based front projector and who don’t want to re-structure their existing ceiling mount and in-place wiring, or for those who want to have a custom rear projection system, while the long throw option is ideal for situations where the projector needs to be sited (for whatever reason) way at the back of the home theater room.
While a bit pricey compared to projectors with fixed lens systems, the Optoma is priced far below other projectors with interchangeable lens options and is an all-around excellent performer that’s easy to recommend.